The simple ‘V’ shape still has power to shock us as a plane design, but Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has been developing the concept design recently, backed by Dutch Airline KLM. The design is partially based on a ‘V’ shaped Airbus patent. The blended wing-body integrates the passenger cabin, cargo hold, and fuel tanks in the wings. Two efficient turbofan engines are mounted towards the back on the same structure as the landing gear strut to minimise the number of heavy duty elements.
The aircraft’s spec matches the Airbus A350 in wingspan, seating, and cargo hold capacity. The key predicted difference is the 20% lower fuel consumption due to it’s improved aerodynamic shape, reduced weight, and decreased size of the ‘V’ shape design.
Why hasn’t this been done before? Because a wing design would need to accommodate a passenger cabin/cargo hold and yet be aerodynamic to create lift. Dr Roelof Vos believes he has the answer and explains that at high altitude a plane’s passenger cabin is under pressure and naturally tends towards a spheroidal shape. The V shaped plane has an ‘oval fuselage’ instead of circular one that accommodates this phenomenon. The design consists of tangentially connected circular arcs, with a trapezoidal substructure to take the compressive and tensional loads.
The V plane design is at the concept stage and undergoing wind tunnel testing and simulations. The initial results are very positive. The project team will present a flying scale model, and full scale interior section at KLM’s 100th anniversary celebration in October.
The question is will this ‘V’ shape plane become a commercial reality and really fly? I really hope so as the design is striking.
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All the best
“The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.”
W. Arthur Porter
“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.”
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